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Documentary on Lancaster bombers premieres Remembrance Day

A film documenting the historic reunion of the world's two remaining airworthy Lancaster bombers will be screened for free at select theatres on Remembrance Day.
The documentary "Reunion of Giants" will screen at select theatres on Remembrance Day. The film follows a 70-year-old Avro Lancaster bomber as it travels to the United Kingdom from the Canadian Warplane Heritage Museum in Hamilton. (John Dibbs)

A film documenting the historic reunion of the world's two remaining airworthy Lancaster bombers will screen for the first time on Remembrance Day, when it will be shown for free in select theatres across Canada.

Cineplex Entertainment will premiere the documentary Reunion of Giants, which follows the transatlantic journey of a 70-year-old Avro Lancaster to England and its highly successful summer tour there with the only other airworthy Lancaster in the world. With the screening, Cineplex says, Canadians will have a chance to remember the valiant crews who flew and maintained the Second World War-era planes.

"It's a big deal," said Morgan Elliott, who is making the film with her Dundas company Suddenly SeeMore Productions.

"We really want people to come on Remembrance Day and enjoy a free movie and reflect on what the brave men of the bomber command did."

The voyage took place in the summer of 2014, when crews flew the plane from the Canadian Warplane Heritage Museum in Hamilton to the United Kingdom.

It wasn't an easy journey for the bomber, which is named VeRA. It flew via Goose Bay, Labrador and Iceland during its transatlantic flight. Along the way, the crew encountered an engine failure, an emergency landing and a storm. Thousands of people came out to see VeRA and her English counterpart, Thumper, take to the skies together during a series of appearances around the country. 

The last time Lancasters flew together was 50 years ago over Toronto, at RCAF Station Downsview. The RCAF flew a special formation of three of the bombers in April 1964 to mark their retirement from service.

The documentary includes interviews with veterans of the Royal Air Force's bomber command.

The film is in the final stages, Elliott says. The team is adding the score now. The project has become "the little engine that could."

She also hopes to plan an official red-carpet screening in the Hamilton area.

Cineplex says it will announce participating theatres in September and make free tickets available Oct. 2.

With files from The Canadian Press

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